For my family.
1. Home Again
"C'mon, dude, admit it. You're just jealous 'cause I was such a big hit with the ladies, while you spent the whole trip stuffing your…"
Beast Boy's voice trailed off as he entered the common room of Titans Tower, sheer bewilderment having stopped him dead in his tracks. As a result, Cyborg nearly tripped over him.
"Hey! What the-?!"
"We have house guests," Raven observed, peering out from behind her massive teammate's bulk. Her tone was, predictably, less than ecstatic.
"Hey, guys!" Kid Flash called, darting over to them from the far end of the room in the blink of an eye. There was at least one other unexpected person present, and busily rummaging through the refrigerator, hidden from view by the open door.
"Back from Tokyo, huh?" Kid Flash was saying. "Didja have a good trip – well, except for the part about Robin getting thrown in jail for murder, anyway?" He grinned mischievously.
"Ummm…" Beast Boy started, but didn't get much further than that.
"Uh…yeah, Kid Flash – it's Kid Flash, right?" Cyborg attempted, pausing for the teen speedster to nod in affirmation before continuing. "Don't take this the wrong way; it isn't that we're not happy to see you, but, um…what are you doing here?"
"Yeah, and how'd this place get so, so…clean?" Beast Boy added. "It was kind of a mess, when we left."
"Oh, that?" Kid Flash shrugged dismissively. "Things have been slow, and she insisted on tidying the place up a bit." He nodded toward the kitchen area.
"I hope it's all right," Wonder Girl said, looking hesitant as she closed the refrigerator door. "I figured you'd all be tired, after such a long trip, and it seemed like the least we could do."
Beast Boy and Cyborg exchanged a brief glance, wordlessly asking each other if this were too good to be true. Raven rolled her eyes.
"As for what we're doing here," Kid Flash explained, stifling a yawn, "Robin asked me to keep an eye on the city for you while you guys were in Japan, and I happened to meet up with WG on my way over. …Didn't he tell you?"
"Uh…no, he didn't." Cyborg frowned, rubbing the back of his head. "But I guess he has been kinda…distracted, lately."
"Where is Robin, anyway? And Starfire, for that matter?" Kid Flash asked, craning his neck in an effort to look around and behind them.
"They're still in the landing bay," Raven answered as she raised her hood, "Being 'more than heroes', probably." With that, she retreated toward the corner with a book.
"'More than heroes'?" Wonder Girl repeated, raising an eyebrow. "What does that mean?"
Beast Boy's answer was a series of exaggerated kissing noises.
There was an awkward pause, while everyone absorbed that.
"Well, took 'em long enough," Kid Flash commented.
"Yeah, you're tellin' YOU FIXED THE SOFA!" Cyborg exploded with glee, suddenly noticing the undamaged furniture. He rushed over to it, beside himself with joy.
"Eheh…replaced, actually," Wonder Girl corrected. "I'm afraid the old one was beyond help. But, we tried to find one almost just like it...I hope it's okay…?"
Cyborg solemnly turned to face her. "I could kiss you," he told her, "if I didn't think you'd break my heart – and I mean that physically."
Now it was her turn to laugh, while in the far corner, Raven muttered something under her breath about moving to a different area code.
From there, Cyborg launched into an involved discussion with Wonder Girl and Kid Flash about Tower repairs and possible renovations, while Beast Boy rummaged through what he now found to be a bafflingly organized kitchen in search of a vegetarian snack. Tucked off in the opposite corner, Raven effectively disappeared into her book, which was where she remained a few minutes later when Robin and Starfire finally entered the room, hand in hand.
Upon sighting their guests, Starfire's eyes widened and she broke into an impossibly broad grin. "Wonder Girl!" she exclaimed, releasing Robin to launch herself across the room and catch the other girl in a hug that would surely have killed anyone who wasn't an Amazon. "And Kid Flash, as well! Your presence is unexpected and joyous!"
"It's good to see you, too, Starfire," Wonder Girl smiled, responding with a superhumanly powerful embrace of her own.
"Welcome back," Kid Flash added, looking slightly grateful for a change of subject from Cyborg's tech-talk.
"Yeah, Robin, about that." Cyborg rubbed his chin meaningfully. "Was there something you forgot to mention?"
Robin stared at him for a moment, his expression blank. "What…didn't I tell you guys that I'd asked Kid Flash to house-sit for us, while we were in Tokyo?" The Boy Wonder looked mildly embarrassed. "Sorry…I guess I was so focused on the whole Saico-Tek thing at the time, it must've slipped my mind."
"'Slipped your mind', huh?" Cyborg repeated, relishing the opportunity to get in a dig at his leader. "S'okay, s'okay…we all know you've had a lot on your plate, lately."
Robin and Starfire simultaneously blushed, right on cue.
Suddenly, Kid Flash was leaning conspiratorially over Robin's shoulder. "So, Robin," he winked, "welcome to the ranks of the romantically entangled."
The Boy Wonder's expression went from shocked to embarrassed to indignant, and he opened his mouth for a retort, but Beast Boy interrupted.
"Hey, dude, he's not the only one who got lucky in Japan! I brought back, like, a hundred an' fifty-eight phone numbers!" And he whipped out an impressively long sheet of handwriting-covered paper as supporting evidence, but when he turned it around for his own viewing, his ears drooped. "…Too bad they're all overseas numbers, an' I can't read any o' the names next to 'em."
"Silkie!" Starfire was gushing, meanwhile, as she bent down to scoop up the happily cooing mutant maggot that was wriggling across the floor toward her. "Hel-lo, my little bumgorf! I have missed you terribly, as well!"
Wonder Girl suppressed a nervous giggle. "Yeah, um…we weren't exactly sure what he ate, so, we, uh…sort of let him eat what was left of the old sofa. He seemed to like that all right."
To the Titans' surprise, the main doors behind Robin slid open yet again.
"Dude!" Beast Boy yelled, leaping over to high-five the blond, green-eyed youth who'd just entered the room. "Jericho, my man! What is up!"
Robin raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Yeah, he showed up yesterday," Kid Flash filled them in. "Let himself in, and the Tower's defense grid gave him the green light, so we figured he was cool."
"Oh, he is definitely that," Beast Boy grinned, nudging the newcomer affectionately. "We never coulda beat the Brotherhood, in Paris, without him."
Jericho smiled and rubbed the back of his head, looking slightly embarrassed.
"Huh." Kid Flash scratched his chin. "Thought he looked familiar. Yeah, he doesn't say much, but he wrote something down about having an urgent message for you guys, when you got home."
At this, all eyes turned toward Jericho, who nodded earnestly, then…hesitated.
"Well, this could be tricky," Cyborg frowned, recalling Jericho's inability to speak.
"Ah!" Starfire exclaimed, raising her 'idea finger'. "Perhaps I could—"
"NOT. NECESSARY," Robin grated, just a little bit too emphatically, holding out a hand to restrain her. While the others looked on in confusion, he stepped up to Jericho and fired off a series of rapid hand gestures.
Jericho's face lit up, and he responded with his own series of gestures. The two of them quickly became engrossed in their sign language conversation.
"Oh," Cyborg raised an eyebrow. "Well, that works too."
While the boys stood around waiting to see what would come of all this, Starfire turned back to Wonder Girl, hugging Silkie like a wriggling, maggoty teddy bear.
"Truthfully, Wonder Girl," she said in a quiet voice, her eyes shining, "I must confess, I am particularly overjoyed at your presence. For some time, I have been longing for the companionship of someone with whom I could do…the Girl Talk."
"Really?" Wonder Girl blinked, taken aback at this. "What about…?"
Her voice trailed off as she followed Starfire's awkward glance toward Raven's corner, where she was sitting with her back to them, her nose buried in her book.
"…Ah. I understand." Wonder Girl gave Starfire a reassuring smile. "Okay, then, where's your room?"
A Teen Titans story
Written by Corey W. Smith
(Teen Titans and all related characters are © DC Comics.)
(This story is based on Warner Animation's version of those characters.)